Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coconut Mango Thumbprint Cookies

I know what you are all thinking: "This girl has been home from Asia for over two months and she still hasn't posted any baked goods inspired by the cuisine over there!"

You were all thinking that, weren't you? No matter... I've been thinking I wanted to share something inspired by a flavor I particularly enjoyed in Thailand for quite some time now, but haven't found the time...or exotic ingredients.

These Coconut Mango Thumbprint Cookies capture one of the single best flavors (mango) I encountered in Thailand, but are made with standard enough ingredients that they can be replicated at home, just about anywhere in range of a grocery store.

Let me tell you something about the mango in Thailand. It's absurd how delicious it is! It's sweeter and more flavorful than anything I've ever had in the states, and the meat of the fruit is so silky that it just melts in your mouth. I kicked off every morning with a full plateful at breakfast!

The majority of foods I enjoyed in Thailand were jointly complex in flavors while simple in design. Pad Thai for instance, is simply noodles in a peanut sauce with some spring veggies, peanuts and chicken. In the states, even some of my favorite restaurants can make a slightly bland-flavored Pad Thai. Not true in Thailand. Every bite is packed with sweet sauce, spice, lime juice and is just incredible.

If I can successfully match the essence of Thai food in a baked good, I'll be thrilled. These cookies kick off the challenge. They are also a part of the "Find the best cookie" challenge — delicious, bite-sized, melt in your mouth, and surprisingly flavorful... but not the greatest cookies I've ever had. Still searching!

Coconut Mango Thumbprint Cookies (recipe adapted from Joy of Baking):
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut shavings
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup Mango Curd

  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes
  • Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until combined
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt
  • Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined
  • If the batter is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place rack in center of oven, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • As oven is heating up, toast coconut on a parchment paper or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet for 5-10 minutes until light brown and fragrant (watch carefully if using sweetened coconut as the sugar can burn quickly)
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy
  • Arrange toasted coconut on a plate
  • Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and taking one ball of dough at a time, dip first into the egg white and then lightly roll in the coconut
  • Place on prepared baking sheet spacing each about 1 inch apart
  • Using your thumb or end of a wooden spoon, make a indentation into the center of each cookie and fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of mango curd
  • Bake for about 12 -15 minutes, or until cookies are set 
  • Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool

NOTE: I was concerned that the pre-toasted coconut would become too toasted while the cookies baked, so to experiment I rolled a few cookies through fresh coconut. The toasted coconut did toast a bit more and the fresh coconut sort of started to toast in the time that the cookies were baking, but not enough to make a huge difference. I preferred the cookies rolled through pre-toasted coconut for their taste and color.

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